September 21, 2019
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       CS for CS for SB 1640                      First Engrossed (ntc)
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       20091640e1
       
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public accountancy; amending s.
    3         455.217, F.S.; providing that persons regulated as
    4         public accountants by the Department of Business and
    5         Professional Regulation under ch. 473, F.S., are
    6         exempt from certain requirement; amending s. 455.271,
    7         F.S.; providing that certain licensees are not subject
    8         to specified continuing education requirements for
    9         reactivation of a license; amending s. 473.302, F.S.;
   10         revising definitions; amending s. 473.303, F.S.;
   11         specifying that members of the Board of Accountancy
   12         and probable cause panels who hold licenses must be
   13         licensed in this state; providing that past board
   14         members of probable cause panels may be reappointed
   15         for additional terms; amending s. 473.304, F.S.;
   16         conforming provisions; amending s. 473.305, F.S.;
   17         deleting provisions requiring a late filing fee;
   18         amending s. 473.308, F.S.; revising educational
   19         requirements for applicants for licensure; providing
   20         an exception to a work experience requirement for
   21         certain persons; amending s. 473.309, F.S.; conforming
   22         provisions related to licensure requirements for firms
   23         licensed in other states; amending s. 473.3101, F.S.;
   24         requiring that certain firms hold a license; providing
   25         licensure exemptions for certain firms licensed in
   26         other states; amending s. 473.311, F.S.; deleting an
   27         examination requirement for licensure renewal;
   28         amending s. 473.312, F.S.; conforming provisions;
   29         amending s. 473.313, F.S.; deleting a minimum
   30         continuing education requirement for reactivating an
   31         inactive license; requiring certain continuing
   32         education hours in ethics in order to reactivate
   33         certain licenses; conforming provisions; amending s.
   34         473.314, F.S.; providing temporary licensure
   35         exemptions for certain persons licensed in other
   36         states; creating s. 473.3141, F.S.; providing
   37         licensure exemptions for certain persons licensed in
   38         other states; providing that disciplinary action
   39         against certain individual or firm that practices
   40         public accounting is valid only under specified
   41         conditions; amending ss. 473.316, 473.318, 473.319,
   42         473.3205, 473.321, and 473.322, F.S.; conforming
   43         provisions; amending s. 473.323, F.S.; conforming
   44         provisions relating to disciplinary actions; providing
   45         grounds for disciplinary actions against certain
   46         persons licensed in other states; providing an
   47         effective date.
   48  
   49  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   50  
   51         Section 1. Subsection (7) of section 455.217, Florida
   52  Statutes, is amended to read:
   53         455.217 Examinations.—This section shall be read in
   54  conjunction with the appropriate practice act associated with
   55  each regulated profession under this chapter.
   56         (7) In addition to meeting any other requirements for
   57  licensure by examination or by endorsement, an applicant may be
   58  required by a board, or by the department, if there is no board,
   59  to pass an examination pertaining to state laws and rules
   60  applicable to the practice of the profession regulated by that
   61  board or by the department. This subsection does not apply to
   62  persons regulated under chapter 473.
   63         Section 2. Subsection (10) of section 455.271, Florida
   64  Statutes, is amended to read:
   65         455.271 Inactive and delinquent status.—
   66         (10) Before reactivation, an inactive or delinquent
   67  licensee shall meet the same continuing education requirements,
   68  if any, imposed on an active status licensee for all biennial
   69  licensure periods in which the licensee was inactive or
   70  delinquent. This subsection does not apply to persons regulated
   71  under chapter 473.
   72         Section 3. Section 473.302, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   73  read:
   74         473.302 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
   75         (1) “Board” means the Board of Accountancy.
   76         (2) “Department” means the Department of Business and
   77  Professional Regulation.
   78         (3) “Division” means the Division of Certified Public
   79  Accounting.
   80         (4) “Certified public accountant” means an individual a
   81  person who holds a license to practice public accounting in this
   82  state or an individual who is practicing public accounting in
   83  this state pursuant to the practice privilege granted in s.
   84  473.3141. The term “Florida certified public accountant” means
   85  an individual holding a license under the authority of this
   86  chapter.
   87         (5) “Firm” means any legal entity that is engaged in the
   88  practice of public accounting.
   89         (6)“Home office” means the principal headquarters of an
   90  entity. An entity may have only one principal headquarters.
   91         (7)(6) “Licensed audit firm” or “public accounting firm”
   92  means a firm licensed under s. 473.3101.
   93         (8)(7) “Practice of,” “practicing public accountancy,” or
   94  “public accounting” means:
   95         (a) Offering to perform or performing for the public one or
   96  more types of services involving the expression of an opinion on
   97  financial statements, the attestation as an expert in
   98  accountancy to the reliability or fairness of presentation of
   99  financial information, the utilization of any form of opinion or
  100  financial statements that provide a level of assurance, the
  101  utilization of any form of disclaimer of opinion which conveys
  102  an assurance of reliability as to matters not specifically
  103  disclaimed, or the expression of an opinion on the reliability
  104  of an assertion by one party for the use by a third party;
  105         (b) Offering to perform or performing for the public one or
  106  more types of services involving the use of accounting skills,
  107  or one or more types of tax, management advisory, or consulting
  108  services, by any person who is a certified public accountant who
  109  holds an active license, issued pursuant to this chapter, or who
  110  is authorized to practice public accounting pursuant to the
  111  practice privileges granted in s. 473.3141, including the
  112  performance of such services by a certified public accountant in
  113  the employ of a person or firm; or
  114         (c) Offering to perform or performing for the public one or
  115  more types of service involving the preparation of financial
  116  statements not included within paragraph (a), by a certified
  117  public accountant who holds an active license, issued pursuant
  118  to this chapter, or who is authorized to practice public
  119  accounting pursuant to the practice privileges granted in s.
  120  473.3141; by a firm of certified public accountants;, or by a
  121  firm in which a certified public accountant has an ownership
  122  interest, including the performance of such services in the
  123  employ of another person. The board shall adopt rules
  124  establishing standards of practice for such reports and
  125  financial statements; provided, however, that nothing in this
  126  paragraph shall be construed to permit the board to adopt rules
  127  that have the result of prohibiting Florida certified public
  128  accountants licensees employed by unlicensed firms from
  129  preparing financial statements as authorized by this paragraph.
  130         (9)“Uniform Accountancy Act” means the Uniform Accountancy
  131  Act, Fourth Edition, dated December 2007 and published by the
  132  American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the
  133  National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
  134  
  135  However, these terms shall not include services provided by the
  136  American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the
  137  Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or any full
  138  service association of certified public accounting firms whose
  139  plans of administration have been approved by the board, to
  140  their members or services performed by these entities in
  141  reviewing the services provided to the public by members of
  142  these entities.
  143         Section 4. Section 473.303, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  144  read:
  145         473.303 Board of Accountancy.—
  146         (1) There is created in the department the Board of
  147  Accountancy. The board shall consist of nine members, seven of
  148  whom must be certified public accountants licensed in this state
  149  and two of whom must be laypersons who are not and have never
  150  been certified public accountants or members of any closely
  151  related profession or occupation. The members who are certified
  152  public accountants must have practiced public accounting on a
  153  substantially full-time basis in this state for at least 5
  154  years. At least one member of the board must be 60 years of age
  155  or older. Each member shall be appointed by the Governor,
  156  subject to confirmation by the Senate.
  157         (2) The probable cause panel of the board may be composed
  158  of at least one current board member who shall serve as chair
  159  and additional current board members or past board members of
  160  the board who are certified public accountants licensed in this
  161  state and licensees in good standing. The past board members
  162  shall be appointed to the panel for a term maximum of 2 years by
  163  the chair of the board with the approval of the secretary of the
  164  department, and may be reappointed for additional terms.
  165         Section 5. Section 473.304, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  166  read:
  167         473.304 Rules of board; powers and duties; legal services.—
  168         (1) The board shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1)
  169  and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this act. Every
  170  certified public accountant and firm licensee shall be governed
  171  and controlled by this act and the rules adopted by the board.
  172         (2) Subject to the prior approval of the Attorney General,
  173  the board may retain independent legal counsel to provide legal
  174  advice to the board on a specific matter.
  175         (3) An attorney employed or used by the board may not both
  176  prosecute a matter and provide legal services to the board with
  177  respect to the same matter.
  178         Section 6. Section 473.305, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  179  read:
  180         473.305 Fees.—The board, by rule, may establish fees to be
  181  paid for applications, examination, reexamination, licensing and
  182  renewal, reinstatement, and recordmaking and recordkeeping. The
  183  fee for the examination shall be established at an amount that
  184  covers the costs for the procurement or development,
  185  administration, grading, and review of the examination. The fee
  186  for the examination is refundable if the applicant is found to
  187  be ineligible to sit for the examination. The fee for initial
  188  application is nonrefundable, and the combined fees for
  189  application and examination may not exceed $250 plus the actual
  190  per applicant cost to the department for purchase of the
  191  examination from the American Institute of Certified Public
  192  Accountants or a similar national organization. The biennial
  193  renewal fee may not exceed $250. The board may also establish,
  194  by rule, a reactivation fee, a late filing fee for the law and
  195  rules examination, and a delinquency fee not to exceed $50 for
  196  continuing professional education reporting forms. The board
  197  shall establish fees which are adequate to ensure the continued
  198  operation of the board and to fund the proportionate expenses
  199  incurred by the department which are allocated to the regulation
  200  of public accountants. Fees shall be based on department
  201  estimates of the revenue required to implement this chapter and
  202  the provisions of law with respect to the regulation of
  203  certified public accountants.
  204         Section 7. Subsections (3) and (4) of section 473.308,
  205  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  206         473.308 Licensure.—
  207         (3) An applicant for licensure must have at least 150
  208  semester hours of college education, including a baccalaureate
  209  or higher degree conferred by an accredited college or
  210  university received a baccalaureate degree with a major in
  211  accounting or its equivalent plus at least 30 semester hours or
  212  45 quarter hours in excess of those required for a 4-year
  213  baccalaureate degree, with a concentration in accounting and
  214  business in the total educational program to the extent
  215  specified by the board.
  216         (4)(a) An applicant for licensure after December 31, 2008,
  217  must show that he or she has had 1 year of work experience. This
  218  experience shall include providing any type of service or advice
  219  involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management
  220  advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills, all of
  221  which must be verified by a certified public accountant who is
  222  licensed by a state or territory of the United States and who
  223  has supervised the applicant. This experience is acceptable if
  224  it was gained through employment in government, industry,
  225  academia, or public practice; constituted a substantial part of
  226  the applicant’s duties; and was under the supervision of a
  227  certified public accountant licensed by a state or territory of
  228  the United States. The board shall adopt rules specifying
  229  standards and providing for the review and approval of the work
  230  experience required by this section.
  231         (b)However, an applicant who completed the requirements of
  232  subsection (3) on or before December 31, 2008, and who passes
  233  the licensure examination on or before June 30, 2010, is exempt
  234  from the requirements of this subsection.
  235         Section 8. Section 473.309, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  236  read:
  237         473.309 Practice requirements for partnerships,
  238  corporations, and limited liability companies; business entities
  239  practicing public accounting.—
  240         (1) A partnership may not engage in the practice of public
  241  accounting, as defined in s. 473.302(8)(a) s. 473.302(7)(a),
  242  unless:
  243         (a) It is a form of partnership recognized by Florida law.
  244         (b) Partners owning at least 51 percent of the financial
  245  interest and voting rights of the partnership are certified
  246  public accountants in some state. However, each partner who is a
  247  certified public accountant in another state and is domiciled in
  248  this state must be a certified public accountant of this state
  249  and hold an active license.
  250         (c) At least one general partner is a certified public
  251  accountant of this state and holds an active license or, in the
  252  case of a firm that must have a license pursuant to s.
  253  473.3101(1)(a)2., at least one general partner is a certified
  254  public accountant in some state and meets the requirements of s.
  255  473.3141(1)(a) or (b).
  256         (d) All partners who are not certified public accountants
  257  in any state are engaged in the business of the partnership as
  258  their principal occupation.
  259         (e) It is in compliance with rules adopted by the board
  260  pertaining to minimum capitalization, letters of credit, and
  261  adequate public liability insurance.
  262         (f) It is currently licensed as required by s. 473.3101.
  263         (2) A corporation may not engage in the practice of public
  264  accounting, as defined in s. 473.302(8)(a) s. 473.302(7)(a),
  265  unless:
  266         (a) It is a corporation duly organized in this or some
  267  other state.
  268         (b) Shareholders of the corporation owning at least 51
  269  percent of the financial interest and voting rights of the
  270  corporation are certified public accountants in some state and
  271  are principally engaged in the business of the corporation.
  272  However, each shareholder who is a certified public accountant
  273  in another state and is domiciled in this state must be a
  274  certified public accountant of this state and hold an active
  275  license.
  276         (c) The principal officer of the corporation is a certified
  277  public accountant in some state.
  278         (d) At least one shareholder of the corporation is a
  279  certified public accountant and holds an active license in this
  280  state or, in the case of a firm that must have a license
  281  pursuant to s. 473.3101(1)(a)2., at least one shareholder is a
  282  certified public accountant in some state and meets the
  283  requirements of s. 473.3141(1)(a) or (b).
  284         (e) All shareholders who are not certified public
  285  accountants in any state are engaged in the business of the
  286  corporation as their principal occupation.
  287         (f) It is in compliance with rules adopted by the board
  288  pertaining to minimum capitalization, letters of credit, and
  289  adequate public liability insurance.
  290         (g) It is currently licensed as required by s. 473.3101.
  291         (3) A limited liability company may not engage in the
  292  practice of public accounting, as defined in s. 473.302(8)(a) s.
  293  473.302(7)(a), unless:
  294         (a) It is a limited liability company duly organized in
  295  this or some other state.
  296         (b) Members of the limited liability company owning at
  297  least 51 percent of the financial interest and voting rights of
  298  the company are certified public accountants in some state.
  299  However, each member who is a certified public accountant in
  300  some state and is domiciled in this state must be a certified
  301  public accountant of this state and hold an active license.
  302         (c) At least one member of the limited liability company is
  303  a certified public accountant and holds an active license in
  304  this state or, in the case of a firm that must have a license
  305  pursuant to s. 473.3101(1)(a)2., at least one member is a
  306  certified public accountant in some state and meets the
  307  requirements of s. 473.3141(1)(a) or (b).
  308         (d) All members who are not certified public accountants in
  309  any state are engaged in the business of the company as their
  310  principal occupation.
  311         (e) It is in compliance with rules adopted by the board
  312  pertaining to minimum capitalization, letters of credit, and
  313  adequate public liability insurance.
  314         (f) It is currently licensed as required by s. 473.3101.
  315         (4) A partnership, corporation, limited liability company,
  316  or any other firm business entity is engaged in the practice of
  317  public accounting if its employees are engaged in the practice
  318  of public accounting. Notwithstanding any other provision of
  319  law, a licensed audit firm may own all or part of another
  320  licensed audit firm.
  321         Section 9. Section 473.3101, Florida Statutes, is amended
  322  to read:
  323         473.3101 Licensure of sole proprietors, partnerships,
  324  corporations, limited liability companies, and other legal
  325  entities.—
  326         (1) Each sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited
  327  liability company, or any other firm legal entity seeking to
  328  engage in the practice of public accounting, as defined in s.
  329  473.302(8)(a) 473.302(7)(a), in this state must file an
  330  application for licensure with the department and supply the
  331  information the board requires. An application must be made upon
  332  the affidavit of a sole proprietor, general partner,
  333  shareholder, or member who is a certified public accountant.
  334         (a) The following must hold a license issued under this
  335  section:
  336         1. Any firm with an office in this state which uses the
  337  title “CPA,”“CPA firm,” or any other title, designation, words,
  338  letters, abbreviations, or device tending to indicate that the
  339  firm practices public accounting.
  340         2. Any firm that does not have an office in this state but
  341  performs the services described in s. 473.3141(4) for a client
  342  having its home office in this state. The board shall define by
  343  rule what constitutes an office.
  344         (b) A firm that is not subject to the requirements of
  345  subparagraph (a)2. may perform other professional services while
  346  using the title “CPA,” “CPA firm,” or any other title,
  347  designation, words, letters, abbreviations, or device tending to
  348  indicate that the firm practices public accounting in this state
  349  without a license issued under this section only if:
  350         1. It performs such services through an individual with
  351  practice privileges granted under s. 473.3141; and
  352         2. It can lawfully do so in the state where the individual
  353  with practice privileges has his or her principal place of
  354  business.
  355         (2) The board shall determine whether the sole proprietor,
  356  partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or any
  357  other firm legal entity meets the requirements for practice and,
  358  pending that determination, may certify to the department the
  359  partnership, corporation, or limited liability company for
  360  provisional licensure.
  361         (3) Each license must be renewed every 2 years. Each sole
  362  proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company,
  363  or any other firm legal entity licensed under this section must
  364  notify the department within 1 month after any change in the
  365  information contained in the application on which its license is
  366  based.
  367         Section 10. Section 473.311, Florida Statutes, is amended
  368  to read:
  369         473.311 Renewal of license.—
  370         (1) The department shall renew a license upon receipt of
  371  the renewal application and fee and upon certification by the
  372  board that the Florida certified public accountant licensee has
  373  satisfactorily completed the continuing education requirements
  374  of s. 473.312 and has passed an examination approved by the
  375  board on chapter 455 and this chapter and the related
  376  administrative rules. However, each licensee must complete the
  377  requirements of s. 473.312(1)(c) prior to taking the
  378  examination.
  379         (2) The department shall adopt rules establishing a
  380  procedure for the biennial renewal of licenses.
  381         Section 11. Section 473.312, Florida Statutes, is amended
  382  to read:
  383         473.312 Continuing education.—
  384         (1)(a) As part of the license renewal procedure, the board
  385  shall by rule require Florida certified public accountants
  386  licensees to submit proof satisfactory to the board that during
  387  the 2 years prior to application for renewal, they have
  388  successfully completed not less than 48 or more than 80 hours of
  389  continuing professional education programs in public accounting
  390  subjects approved by the board. The board may prescribe by rule
  391  additional continuing professional education hours, not to
  392  exceed 25 percent of the total hours required, for failure to
  393  complete the hours required for renewal by the end of the
  394  reestablishment period.
  395         (b) Not less than 25 percent of the total hours required by
  396  the board shall be in accounting-related and auditing-related
  397  subjects, as distinguished from federal and local taxation
  398  matters and management services.
  399         (c) Not less than 5 percent of the total hours required by
  400  the board shall be in ethics applicable to the practice of
  401  public accounting. This requirement shall be administered by
  402  providers approved by the board and shall include a review of
  403  the provisions of chapter 455 and this chapter and the related
  404  administrative rules.
  405         (2) Programs of continuing professional education approved
  406  by the board shall be formal programs of learning which
  407  contribute directly to the professional competency of an
  408  individual following licensure to practice public accounting and
  409  may be any of the following:
  410         (a) Professional development programs of the American
  411  Institute of Certified Public Accountants, state societies of
  412  certified public accountants, or other organizations.
  413         (b) Technical sessions at meetings of the American
  414  Institute of Certified Public Accountants, state societies,
  415  chapters, or other organizations.
  416         (c) University and college courses.
  417         (d) Formal organized in-firm education programs.
  418         (3) The board shall adopt rules establishing the continuing
  419  education requirements for Florida certified public accountants
  420  licensees who are engaged in the audit of a governmental entity.
  421  The board shall approve subjects directly related to the
  422  governmental environment and to governmental auditing for
  423  purposes of satisfying the requirement of this subsection.
  424         (4) For the purposes of maintaining proper continuing
  425  education requirements for renewal of licensure under this
  426  chapter, the board may appoint a Continuing Professional
  427  Education Advisory Committee, which shall be composed of one
  428  member of the board, one academician on the faculty of a
  429  university in this state, and six certified public accountants.
  430         Section 12. Section 473.313, Florida Statutes, is amended
  431  to read:
  432         473.313 Inactive status.—
  433         (1) A Florida certified public accountant licensee may
  434  request that her or his license be placed in an inactive status
  435  by making application to the department. The board may prescribe
  436  by rule fees for placing a license on inactive status, renewal
  437  of inactive status, and reactivation of an inactive license.
  438         (2) A license that has become inactive may be reactivated
  439  under s. 473.311 upon application to the department. The board
  440  may prescribe by rule continuing education requirements as a
  441  condition of reactivating a license. The minimum continuing
  442  education requirements for reactivating a license shall be those
  443  prescribed by board rule and those of the most recent biennium
  444  plus one-half of the requirements in s. 473.312 for each year or
  445  part thereof during which the license was inactive.
  446  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the
  447  continuing education requirements are 120 hours, including at
  448  least 30 hours in accounting-related and auditing-related
  449  subjects, and not more than 30 hours in behavioral subjects, and
  450  a minimum of 8 hours in ethics subjects approved by the board,
  451  for the reactivation of a license that is inactive on June 30,
  452  2009 1998, if the Florida certified public accountant licensee
  453  notifies the Board of Accountancy by December 31, 2009 1998, of
  454  an intention to reactivate such a license and completes such
  455  reactivation by June 30, 2011 2000.
  456         (3) Any Florida certified public accountant licensee
  457  holding an inactive license may be permitted to reactivate such
  458  license in a conditional manner. The conditions of reactivation
  459  shall require, in addition to the payment of fees, the passing
  460  of the examination approved by the board concerning chapter 455
  461  and this chapter, and the related administrative rules, and the
  462  completion of required continuing education.
  463         (4) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 455.271, the board
  464  may, at its discretion, reinstate the license of an individual
  465  whose license has become null and void if the individual has
  466  made a good faith effort to comply with this section but has
  467  failed to comply because of illness or unusual hardship. The
  468  individual shall apply to the board for reinstatement in a
  469  manner prescribed by rules of the board and shall pay an
  470  application fee in an amount determined by rule of the board.
  471  The board shall require that the such an individual meet all
  472  continuing education requirements as provided in subsection (2)
  473  s. 473.312, pay appropriate licensing fees, and otherwise be
  474  eligible for renewal of licensure under this chapter.
  475         Section 13. Section 473.314, Florida Statutes, is amended
  476  to read:
  477         473.314 Temporary license.—
  478         (1) The board shall adopt rules providing for the issuance
  479  of temporary licenses to certified public accountants or firms
  480  of other states who do not meet the requirements of s. 473.3141,
  481  for the purpose of enabling them or their employees to perform
  482  specific engagements involving the practice of public
  483  accountancy in this state. No temporary license shall be valid
  484  for more than 90 days after its issuance, and no license shall
  485  cover more than one engagement. After the expiration of 90 days,
  486  a new license shall be required.
  487         (2) Each application for a temporary license shall state
  488  the names of all persons who are to enter this state and shall
  489  be accompanied by a fee in an amount established by the board
  490  not to exceed $400.
  491         (3) A temporary license shall not be required of certified
  492  public accountants or firms a person entering this state solely
  493  for the purpose of preparing federal tax returns or advising as
  494  to federal tax matters if they do not use the title “CPA,” “CPA
  495  firm,” or any other title, designation, words, letters,
  496  abbreviations, or device tending to indicate that the certified
  497  public accountants or firms are authorized to practice public
  498  accounting. To use such terms in this state, certified public
  499  accountants or firms from other states must comply with the
  500  provisions of this section or section 473.3141.
  501         (4) Upon certification of the applicant by the board, the
  502  department shall issue a temporary license to the applicant.
  503         (5) The application for a temporary license shall
  504  constitute the appointment of the Department of State as an
  505  agent of the applicant for service of process in any action or
  506  proceeding against the applicant arising out of any transaction
  507  or operation connected with, or incidental to, the practice of
  508  public accounting for which the temporary license was issued.
  509         Section 14. Section 473.3141, Florida Statutes, is created
  510  to read:
  511         473.3141Certified public accountants licensed in other
  512  states.—
  513         (1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, an
  514  individual who does not have an office in this state has the
  515  privileges of Florida certified public accountants and may
  516  provide public accounting services in this state without
  517  obtaining a license under this chapter or notifying or
  518  registering with the board or paying a fee if the individual:
  519         (a)Holds a valid license as a certified public accountant
  520  from a state that the board or its designee has determined by
  521  rule to have adopted standards that are substantially equivalent
  522  to the certificate requirements in s. 5 of the Uniform
  523  Accountancy Act in the issuance of licenses; or
  524         (b)Holds a valid license as a certified public accountant
  525  from a state that has not been approved by the board as having
  526  adopted standards in substantial equivalence with s. 5 of the
  527  Uniform Accountancy Act, but obtains verification from the
  528  board, or its designee, as determined by rule, that the
  529  individual’s certified public accountant qualifications are
  530  substantially equivalent to the certificate requirements in s. 5
  531  of the Uniform Accountancy Act.
  532  
  533  The board shall define by rule what constitutes an office.
  534         (2)Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, an
  535  individual who qualifies to practice under this section may
  536  offer or provide services in this state in person, by mail, by
  537  telephone, or by electronic means, and a notice, fee, or other
  538  submission is not required.
  539         (3) An individual certified public accountant from another
  540  state who practices pursuant to this section, and the firm that
  541  employs that individual, shall both consent, as a condition of
  542  the privilege of practicing in this state:
  543         (a) To the personal and subject matter jurisdiction and
  544  disciplinary authority of the board;
  545         (b) To comply with this chapter and the applicable board
  546  rules;
  547         (c) That if the license as a certified public accountant
  548  from the state of the individual’s principal place of business
  549  is no longer valid, the individual will cease offering or
  550  rendering public accounting services in this state, individually
  551  and on behalf of a firm; and
  552         (d) To the appointment of the state board that issued the
  553  individual’s license as the agent upon whom process may be
  554  served in any action or proceeding by the board or department
  555  against the individual or firm.
  556         (4) An individual who qualifies to practice under this
  557  section may perform the services identified in s. 473.302(8)(a)
  558  only through a firm that has obtained a license issued under s.
  559  473.3101 or is authorized by s. 473.3101 to provide such
  560  services.
  561         (5)Disciplinary action against an individual or firm that
  562  practices pursuant to this section is not valid unless, prior to
  563  the entry of a final order, the agency has served, by personal
  564  service pursuant to this chapter or chapter 48 or by certified
  565  mail, an administrative complaint that provides reasonable
  566  notice to the individual or firm of facts or conduct that
  567  warrants the intended action and unless the individual or firm
  568  has been given an adequate opportunity to request a proceeding
  569  pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57. When personal service cannot
  570  be made and the certified mail notice is returned undelivered,
  571  the agency shall have a short, plain notice to the individual or
  572  firm with practice privileges published once a week for 4
  573  consecutive weeks in a newspaper published in Leon County,
  574  Florida. The newspaper shall meet the requirements prescribed by
  575  law for such purposes.
  576         Section 15. Subsection (1) of section 473.316, Florida
  577  Statutes, is amended to read:
  578         473.316 Communications between the accountant and client
  579  privileged.—
  580         (1) For purposes of this section:
  581         (a) An “accountant” is a certified public accountant.
  582         (b) A “client” is any person, public officer, corporation,
  583  association, or other organization or entity, either public or
  584  private, who consults an accountant with the purpose of
  585  obtaining accounting services.
  586         (c) A communication between an accountant and her or his
  587  client is “confidential” if it is not intended to be disclosed
  588  to third persons other than:
  589         1. Those to whom disclosure is in furtherance of the
  590  rendition of accounting services to the client.
  591         2. Those reasonably necessary for the transmission of the
  592  communication.
  593         (d) A “quality review” is a study, appraisal, or review of
  594  one or more aspects of the professional work of an accountant a
  595  licensee in the practice of public accountancy which is
  596  conducted by a professional organization for the purpose of
  597  evaluating quality assurance required by professional standards,
  598  including a quality assurance or peer review.
  599         (e) A “review committee” is any person or persons who are
  600  not owners or employees of an accountant or firm a licensee that
  601  is the subject of a quality review and who carry out,
  602  administer, or oversee a quality review.
  603         Section 16. Section 473.318, Florida Statutes, is amended
  604  to read:
  605         473.318 Ownership of working papers.—All statements,
  606  records, schedules, working papers, and memoranda made by a
  607  certified public accountant or firm licensee or her or his
  608  employee incident to, or in the course of, professional services
  609  to a client, except the reports submitted by the certified
  610  public accountant or firm licensee to the client and except for
  611  records which are part of the client’s records, shall be and
  612  remain the property of the certified public accountant or firm
  613  licensee in the absence of an express agreement between the
  614  certified public accountant or firm licensee and the client to
  615  the contrary.
  616         Section 17. Section 473.319, Florida Statutes, is amended
  617  to read:
  618         473.319 Contingent fees.—Public accounting services as
  619  defined in s. 473.302(8)(a) s. 473.302(7)(a) and (c), and those
  620  that include tax filings with federal, state, or local
  621  government, shall not be offered or rendered for a fee
  622  contingent upon the findings or results of such service. This
  623  section does not apply to services involving federal, state, or
  624  other taxes in which the findings are those of the tax
  625  authorities and not those of the certified public accountant or
  626  firm licensee. Fees to be fixed by courts or other public
  627  authorities, which are of an indeterminate amount at the time a
  628  public accounting service is undertaken, shall not be regarded
  629  as contingent fees for purposes of this section.
  630         Section 18. Section 473.319, Florida Statutes, is amended
  631  to read:
  632         473.319 Contingent fees.—Public accounting services as
  633  defined in s. 473.302(8)(a) s. 473.302(7)(a) and (c), and those
  634  that include tax filings with federal, state, or local
  635  government, shall not be offered or rendered for a fee
  636  contingent upon the findings or results of such service. This
  637  section does not apply to services involving federal, state, or
  638  other taxes in which the findings are those of the tax
  639  authorities and not those of the certified public accountant or
  640  firm licensee. Fees to be fixed by courts or other public
  641  authorities, which are of an indeterminate amount at the time a
  642  public accounting service is undertaken, shall not be regarded
  643  as contingent fees for purposes of this section.
  644         Section 19. Section 473.3205, Florida Statutes, is amended
  645  to read:
  646         473.3205 Commissions or referral fees.—A certified public
  647  accountant or firm licensee may not accept or pay a commission
  648  or referral fee in connection with the sale or referral of
  649  public accounting services as defined in s. 473.302(8)(a) s.
  650  473.302(7)(a) and (c). Any certified public accountant or firm
  651  business entity that is engaged in the practice of public
  652  accounting and that accepts a commission for the sale of a
  653  product or service to a client must disclose that fact to the
  654  client in writing in accordance with rules adopted by the board.
  655  However, this section shall not prohibit:
  656         (1) Payments for the purchase of an accounting practice;
  657         (2) Retirement payments to individuals formerly engaged in
  658  the practice of public accounting or payments to their heirs or
  659  estates; or
  660         (3) Payment of fees to a referring certified public
  661  accountant or firm licensee for public accounting services to
  662  either the successor certified public accountant or firm
  663  licensee or the client in connection with an engagement.
  664         Section 20. Section 473.321, Florida Statutes, is amended
  665  to read:
  666         473.321 Fictitious names.—
  667         (1) A certified public accountant, partnership,
  668  corporation, or limited liability company may not practice
  669  public accountancy in this state under any name that is
  670  misleading or deceptive as to the legal form; as to persons who
  671  are partners, officers, shareholders, or members of the firm; or
  672  as to any other matter. However, a firm name may include the
  673  names of retired or deceased persons who were active partners,
  674  shareholders, or members of the firm.
  675         (2) This section does not prohibit any certified public
  676  accountant or firm licensee from practicing public accounting
  677  under a fictitious name that is not misleading or deceptive as
  678  to the persons who are partners, officers, shareholders, or
  679  members.
  680         (3) The board shall adopt rules for interpretation of this
  681  section.
  682         Section 21. Section 473.322, Florida Statutes, is amended
  683  to read:
  684         473.322 Prohibitions; penalties.—
  685         (1) A person may not knowingly:
  686         (a) Practice public accounting unless the person is a
  687  certified public accountant or a public accountant;
  688         (b) Assume or use the titles or designations “certified
  689  public accountant” or “public accountant” or the abbreviation
  690  “C.P.A.” or any other title, designation, words, letters,
  691  abbreviations, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that
  692  the person holds a license to practice public accounting under
  693  this chapter or the laws of any other state, territory, or
  694  foreign jurisdiction, unless the person holds an active license
  695  under this chapter or has the practice privileges pursuant to s.
  696  473.3141;
  697         (c) Perform or offer to perform any services described in
  698  s. 473.302(8)(a) s. 473.302(7)(a) unless such person holds an
  699  active license under this chapter and is a licensed audit firm,
  700  or provides such services through a licensed audit firm, or
  701  complies with ss. 473.3141 and 473.3101. This paragraph does not
  702  prohibit the performance by persons other than certified public
  703  accountants of other services involving the use of accounting
  704  skills, including the preparation of tax returns and the
  705  preparation of financial statements without expression of
  706  opinion thereon;
  707         (d) Present as her or his own the license of another;
  708         (e) Give false or forged evidence to the board or a member
  709  thereof;
  710         (f) Use or attempt to use a public accounting license that
  711  has been suspended, revoked, or placed on inactive or delinquent
  712  status;
  713         (g) Employ unlicensed persons to practice public
  714  accounting; or
  715         (h) Conceal information relative to violations of this
  716  chapter.
  717         (2) Any person who violates any provision of this section
  718  commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
  719  provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  720         Section 22. Section 473.323, Florida Statutes, is amended
  721  to read:
  722         473.323 Disciplinary proceedings.—
  723         (1) The following acts constitute grounds for which the
  724  disciplinary actions in subsection (3) may be taken:
  725         (a) Violation of any provision of s. 455.227(1) or any
  726  other provision of this chapter.
  727         (b) Attempting to procure a license to practice public
  728  accounting by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentations.
  729         (c) Having a license to practice public accounting revoked,
  730  suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of
  731  licensure, by the licensing authority of another state,
  732  territory, or country.
  733         (d) Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea
  734  of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in
  735  any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of
  736  public accounting or the ability to practice public accounting.
  737         (e) Making or filing a report or record that the certified
  738  public accountant or firm licensee knows to be false, willfully
  739  failing to file a report or record required by state or federal
  740  law, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing, or inducing
  741  another person to impede or obstruct such filing. Such reports
  742  or records include only those that are signed in the capacity of
  743  a certified public accountant.
  744         (f) Advertising goods or services in a manner that is
  745  fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content.
  746         (g) Committing an act of fraud or deceit, or of negligence,
  747  incompetency, or misconduct, in the practice of public
  748  accounting.
  749         (h) Violation of any rule adopted pursuant to this chapter
  750  or chapter 455.
  751         (i) Practicing on a revoked, suspended, inactive, or
  752  delinquent license.
  753         (j) Suspension or revocation of the right to practice
  754  before any state or federal agency.
  755         (k) Performance of any fraudulent act in any jurisdiction
  756  while holding a license to practice public accounting in this
  757  state or using practice privileges in this state.
  758         (l) Failing to maintain a good moral character as provided
  759  in s. 473.308 while applying for licensure, or while licensed in
  760  this state or using practice privileges pursuant to s. 473.3141.
  761         (m) Failing to provide any written disclosure to a client
  762  or the public which is required by this chapter or rule of the
  763  board.
  764         (n)Having the same or equivalent practice privileges of a
  765  Florida certified public accountant or firm revoked, suspended,
  766  or otherwise acted against by the licensing authority of another
  767  state, territory, or country as a result of activity in that
  768  jurisdiction which would have subjected the Florida certified
  769  public accountant or firm to discipline in this state.
  770         (2) The board shall specify, by rule, what acts or
  771  omissions constitute a violation of subsection (1).
  772         (3) When the board finds any certified public accountant or
  773  firm licensee guilty of any of the grounds set forth in
  774  subsection (1), it may enter an order imposing one or more of
  775  the following penalties:
  776         (a) Denial of an application for licensure.
  777         (b) Revocation or suspension of the certified public
  778  accountant or firm’s a license or practice privileges in this
  779  state.
  780         (c) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed
  781  $5,000 for each count or separate offense.
  782         (d) Issuance of a reprimand.
  783         (e) Placement of the certified public accountant licensee
  784  on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions
  785  as the board may specify, including requiring the certified
  786  public accountant licensee to attend continuing education
  787  courses or to work under the supervision of another licensee.
  788         (f) Restriction of the authorized scope of practice by the
  789  certified public accountant.
  790         (4) The department shall reissue the license of a
  791  disciplined licensee upon certification by the board that the
  792  disciplined licensee has complied with all of the terms and
  793  conditions set forth in the final order.
  794         Section 23. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009.

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